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March 15, 2016

The Real Psychology Behind Hyper-Personalized Marketing

Promoting a product and getting people to buy things from you will always be an awkward situation. No one wants their potential customers to feel like a number. Possibly even worse, for them to feel like you don’t understand their specific problems. Uniformity is the plague of sameness, it’s an old adage that remains true year after year. It seems like businesses understand it for a few years, and then inexplicably forget about its importance.

The internet seemed like a promising venture for a while. You could target your ads to a geographical location, change the copy to appeal to a city, you could track their purchases or visits to a site and tailor search results. Some people thought it was creepy, but a lot of people saw it as useful. If we’re gonna see ads, at the end of the day, we’d prefer them to be relevant, right? So why is video any different? Why do we still create them like they will fit everyone and anyone?

It’s an awesome experience to receive a video with your name and title in it. It feels like the company went a extra step, an extra mile. It’s that “Awww, you shouldn’t have” feeling. When everyone is doing the same thing, when your email inbox is flooded with emails with catchy subject lines, it’s the small things that make a difference. It’s a very simple concept, but it works because it hits us at a subconscious level.

We want to belong

Think of the Coca-Cola cans with first names on them. Didn’t we all stand in front of a corner store fridge and go “Hey, that’s my name!”, and didn’t we all buy it, for the hell of it? Of course we did. That’s how humans react, it’s what they’re looking for at their very core. To be understood, to be called, to feel like they belong. Whether or not they truly belong doesn’t ultimately matter. If you can trigger that feeling, you’ve caught people’s attention.


Making people feel part of something in B2B is always harder, we get that. There’s always a barrier to cross. Sure you can explain to potential clients how you’ll make their job easier, and ultimately their lives easier. But then they always have someone else to convince. Maybe even several someones. If you can make them sound passionate about it rather than simply excited, you’ve already won part of the battle.

Just another company

We hate to tell you this, but you work for just another company, selling just another product. People have seen so much, and have purchased so much, their minds are exhausted. There’s this law in economics called the law of diminishing returns. If you’re walking in a desert, thirsty as hell, you’re very likely to buy a bottle of water, and pay a really high price for it. If you’re really parched you might buy a second one, but with every bottle you buy, the odds of buying the next one go down.

Whether you realize it or not, you’re currently trying to sell your customers their 79th bottle of water. If you still manage to close that deal, like wow, kudos to you. Your customers feel all full and bloated at this point. They don’t want to drink more. However, if you personally call them out, and explain to them how your water is actually flavored and different, they might realize that they are still thirsty, they just wanted water with lemon in it all along. That’s what you’re really trying to do, because the world and their dog already knows you’re selling something. You need to sell it better, and to bring back individuality to the game.

Just wanna feel loved

We really don’t mean to beat a dead horse here, but your potential customers heard you already. They’ve been through the process. Getting marketed to is like ordering food at a restaurant at this point: a very casual and common thing. Well, did you know that you’re a lot more likely to tip a waitress if she makes physical contact? That you tip more if she writes “Thank You! : )” on your bill? Don’t believe it? Would you believe it more if it came from a professor of consumer behavior at Cornell?

The science is simple, and really it’s common sense once you delve into it. Once an experience is common to us, we stop caring. If we’ve dealt with thousands of waitresses and waiters, we’re only inclined to tip more than 15% if the service was really good. However, service is not rocket science, there is only so much that can be different about it. Most of what defines good service is about caring. You want to feel like you’re a valued customer.

Okay, soo… ?

You’re smart, you already kinda know where we’re going with all this. A personalized video is a Coke can with your name on it, it can make a 79th bottle of water appealing, it’s a way to doodle on a check to get a better tip (or just close a deal). Actually, you don’t even really need to agree with the psychology of it, the stats already prove that it works. This is just another tool in your arsenal to make your potential clients loyal to you right away. There really is no better way to say “I appreciate you” than through a personal video. And at the end of the day, we don’t want to be sold to, we just want to be loved.

Max Doucet-Benoit

Max Doucet-Benoit

Max loves writing content, but his true love is reserved for videos. In his spare time, he enjoys video games and Boston Terriers in general.

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